Jonathan Freedland’s Intifada delusions.

It was disappointing to say the least to see that in his October 25th article on CiF Jonathan Freedland appears to have succumbed to the myth of a non-violent First Intifada.

” There is hopeful talk of a “Palestinian spring”, a popular movement demanding independence that world opinion would find hard to oppose, one inspired by the first, stone-throwing intifada begun in 1987 rather than by the murderous second one that began in 2000. Such an uprising would also put pressure on the Israeli government to make the concessions necessary for peace, much as the first intifada pushed Israel into the Madrid and Oslo processes.”

Ironically, the event which seems to have prompted Freedland’s article is the release of Gilad Shalit in exchange for Palestinian prisoners, several of whom were serving sentences as a result of having been convicted for rather more than ‘stone-throwing’ during the First Intifada.  

Whilst it is of course true that the Second Intifada was considerably more violent than the first one, (partly at least due to the fact that by September 2000 the Palestinian terror organisations had much easier access to weapons as a result of the Oslo process), it is by no means accurate to claim that the First Intifada was not ‘murderous’, both in its intent and results.

Memorial for the 16 Israelis killed in first attempted suicide attack of 1st Intifada, in 1989. The attack occurred when the 405 bus from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was forced off the road by a Palestinian terrorist named Abd al-Hadi Ghanayem. Ghanayem is to be released in the deal for Gilad Shalit.

The First Intifada began on December 9th 1987, but its end is more difficult to date. Some sources define it as ending with the Madrid Conference of October 1991. Others consider it to have continued until the signing of the Oslo Accords in September 1993. Between December 1987 and September 1993, Palestinian terrorists carried out some 3,600 attacks with Molotov cocktails, 100 attacks with hand grenades and 600 attacks with guns or explosives. Below is a partial list of some of the events which Freedland and others who attempt to airbrush the First Intifada prefer to ignore.

December 28th, 1987 – Israeli postal workers discovered 8 letter bombs, one of which exploded, injuring 2 people.

March 7th, 1988 – Fatah terrorists entered Israel from Sinai, Egypt and murdered Victor Ram, Miriam Ben-Yair and Rina Sharetsky – all workers at the Dimona nuclear plant – and injured 8 others.

April 8th, 1988 – Palestinian gunmen attacked a group of hikers, killing one girl and wounding 15 others.

June 22nd, 1988 – Professor Menahem Stern was stabbed to death in Jerusalem by two Palestinian terrorists whilst walking from his home in Rehavia to the library.  

August 20th, 1988 – Terrorists (probably from the Abu Nidal faction) exploded a hand grenade in a Haifa mall, injuring 25.

October 30th, 1988 – Terrorists firebombed an Israeli bus in Jericho killing a mother and her 3 children and a soldier who tried to rescue them. Ahmed al Takruri was convicted for the attack and sentenced to life imprisonment. He was released under the terms of the October 2011 Shalit deal.

February 16th, 1989 – Sgt. Avi Sasportas was kidnapped and shot to death by terrorists. His body was discovered 3 months later.

March 21st, 1989 – A construction worker from Gaza – Mohammed Zakout – stabbed and killed two Israelis and seriously injured a third in Tel Aviv. He was released in October 2011 under the Shalit deal.

May 3rd, 1989 – Cpl. Ilan Sa’adon was kidnapped and murdered by terrorists. His body was only discovered in 1996.  Muhammed al Sharatha, head of the cell which murdered both Sasportas and Sa’adon, was released in October 2011 under the terms of the Shalit deal. Also on the same day, two Israelis were stabbed to death and three injured by Palestinian terrorists in an attack in Zion Square in Jerusalem.

June 16th, 1989 – An Israeli was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist near Ariel.

July 6th, 1989 – An Islamic Jihad terrorist forced bus no. 405 off a cliff on the road to Jerusalem, killing 14 people and wounding dozens more. The perpetrator, Abd al Hadi Rafa Ghanim, survived and was sentenced to 16 life sentences. He was released on October 18th 2011 under the Shalit deal.

May 28th, 1990 – A bomb hidden in a stall at the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem killed one person and injured 12.

May 30th, 1990 – A PLF terror attack by sea on Tel Aviv beaches was thwarted.

June 7th, 1990 – An Islamic Jihad bomb in a Jerusalem shopping centre killed one person and injured 9 others.

July 28th, 1990 – a Canadian tourist was killed and 18 others injured by a pipe bomb planted on a beach in Tel Aviv.

August 4th, 1990 – Two Israeli teenagers were kidnapped from Jerusalem and murdered.

September 20th, 1990 – Reservist Sgt Amnon Pomerantz was stoned to death and burned in his vehicle after losing his way in the Gaza Strip.

October 21st, 1990 – Three Israelis were stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in Jerusalem.

December 2nd, 1990 – Hamas terrorists stabbed one Israeli to death and injured 3 others on a bus between Petah Tikva and Tel Aviv.

December 14th, 1990 – Hamas terrorists murdered 3 employees at a factory in Yaffo.

March 18th, 1991 – A Palestinian terrorist murdered 4 women in Jerusalem.

October 11th, 1991 – Two soldiers were killed and 11 others injured when a terrorist deliberately ran them over at the hitch-hiking station at Tel HaShomer.

October 28th, 1991 – PIJ and PFLP claimed responsibility for an attack by gunmen on a civilian bus in which two Israelis were killed and several others wounded.

February 14th, 1992 – Three Israeli soldiers were axed to death by terrorists near Kibbutz Gal’ed.

May 17th, 1992 – one Israeli was shot and killed by Palestinians in Bet Lahiye, Gaza Strip.

May 24th, 1992 – 15 year-old schoolgirl Helena Rapp was stabbed to death by a Hamas terrorist in Bat Yam. The murderer, Fuad Amrin, was released under the Shalit deal in October 2011.

May 27th, 1992 – A rabbi from Gush Katif was stabbed to death by a Hamas terrorist.

May 30th, 1992 – One Israeli was killed in Eilat by Palestinian terrorists.

June 25th, 1992 – Two Israelis were stabbed to death by Hamas terrorists in a packing house in Gaza. On the same day another Israeli was injured by a terrorist with an axe.

September 18th, 1992 – an Israeli soldier was kidnapped and stabbed by Hamas terrorists.

September 22nd, 1992 – Border policeman Avinoam Peretz was shot and killed by a Hamas terrorist in Jerusalem.

November 20th, 1992 – A car bomb planted by Hamas terrorists in Or Yehuda was defused.

December 12th, 1992 – Staff Sgt. Major Nissim Toledano was kidnapped and subsequently murdered by Hamas terrorists.  Ahmed Atwan, who was sentenced to 3 life sentences for his part in the incident was released in October 2011 as part of the Shalit deal.

December 19th, 1992 – A policeman was kidnapped and murdered in Jerusalem.

February 24th, 1993 – an 11 year-old girl, Hava Wechsberg, was killed when Palestinians threw rocks at the car in which she was travelling, causing it to crash.

March 12th, 1993 – Pvt. Yeoshua Friedberg was kidnapped and murdered by terrorists. Mahmud Shammasina who was serving three life sentences for his part in Friedberg’s murder (in addition to 3 others) was released in October 2011 as part of the terms of the Shalit deal.  

March 29th, 1993 – An Israeli was killed by two Palestinians wielding an axe in Petah Tikva.

April 16th, 1993 – Hamas detonated a bomb in the parking lot of a restaurant at Mehola, killing one person.

May 28th, 1993 – A Yeshiva student was murdered in Hebron whilst walking to synagogue.  

July 1st, 1993 – 3 Hamas terrorists killed 2 women and wounded 2 other people during an attempted bus hijack in Jerusalem.

August 5th, 1993 – An Israeli soldier – Yaron Chen – was kidnapped and murdered by Hamas terrorists. Fahad Schludi who was imprisoned for his part in the murder was released in October 2011 as part of the Shalit deal.

September 24th, 1993 – Yigal Vaknin was stabbed to death by Hamas terrorists in an orchard near his home.

In addition to the Israelis killed in the First Intifada (according to the chosen time frame, numbers range from 160 to 185), Freedland also makes no mention of the hundreds of Palestinians killed by their fellow countrymen during that time on the often trumped-up charge of ‘collaboration’ with Israel.

Freedland also appears to think that the First Intifada had the positive effect of pushing Israel towards the Madrid Conference and the Oslo Accords and implies that a contemporary repeat of such an uprising might have similar effects today, of which he appears to approve.

Unfortunately, Freedland neglects to mention that after the signing of the Oslo Accords the rate of terrorism only worsened with 91 Israelis murdered between September 1993 and the end of 1994 alone.

By perpetuating the myth of a non-violent First Intifada and by ignoring the terror which subsequently worsened as a result of the refusal of assorted Palestinian terror factions to accept the concept of peace with Israel as outlined in the Oslo Accords, Freedland is apparently able to delude himself into believing that all that is needed in order for sweetness and light to envelop the Middle East is a ‘gesture’ from the current Prime Minister or the involvement of the international community.

His personal delusions are his own affair, but his air-brushing of the historical facts on the pages of the mainstream media are not.

37 replies »

  1. Freedland does seem to be an arch-delusionist. I am very disappointed in him that he, after his rude awakening to the extent of immutable hatred of Israel and Jews by Islamists in the UK, and his admission to himself and his readership that this was indeed the case, he has sold out so utterly rather than tried to be more honest.

    But then he works for the Guardian, where facts are tricky things.

    • Dear Serendipity
      How do you expect Jonathan Freedland to go on working for the Guardian with its no doubt considerable material rewards if he allows his actual insights to interfere with his day by day reality?

      He probably divides it up into ”work truths” and ”actual truths” on the same basis as a salaried employee divides up the huge $$$ she deals with at work and real money – her own salary and the amount she has to spend

      • Margie in Tel Aviv, I guess I don’t really. I make the mistake of judging what pass for Freedland’s moral standards by my own. I know that I couldn’t work in an environment which forced me to behave in a particular way which went against my true feelings and values. Freedland isn’t the first to prostitute his values in this way, however.

        Perhaps you are right about how Freedland perceives this, but my bugbear is how he manages to do that and sleep at night. Doesn’t the man realise that has shown himself to be a hypocrite? Do all Guardian employees have to undergo a procedure whereby their sense of shame is removed totally, blinkers surgically implanted, and insight totally removed so as to make cognitive dissonance superfluous?

  2. Regarding Freedland’s Paul’s moment as the Hungarian saying goes – one can’t make bacon from dogmeat. A Guardinista will remain a Guardinista forever…

  3. Reading that “roll call” – i.e. in particular the murderers recently set free – I am again reminded of Deborah Orr’s horrible distortion of the prisoner release deal.

  4. Disgusting, Shoddy journalism, pacifying the Arabs and Antisemites by self hating Jews.

    The truth is out there! Why would anyone, specially Jewish journalists, try to falsify or ignore the facts? What purpose does it serve, except selling his soul for a pot of meat?

  5. “it is by no means accurate to claim that the First Intifada was not ‘murderous’ …. in its …. results.”

    Too right. The IDF killed more than 1000 Palestinians during the first intifada. Defence Minister Rabin notoriously ordered soldiers to break the bones of Palestinian protesters, which they then proceeded to do. Save the Children estimated that, 23,600 to 29,900 children required medical treatment for their beating injuries in the first two years of the intifada, one third of whom were under the age of ten years. Colonel Efraim Eitam passed Rabin’s orders on to his troops, who promptly beat Ayyad Aqel to death in 1988. Eitam was reprimanded but went on to gain promotion, was elected to the Knesset and held ministerial posts under Sharon.

    • sencar what are the verifiable and credible sources for your claim?
      Please no references to Wikipedia or articles in The Guardian.

    • Yes, Sencar – depending on sources and time frames there are reports of between 1,000 and 1,487 Palestinian deaths during the First Intifada years – not including about 1,000 victims of Palestinian on Palestinian violence.

      However, the point is that like too many other people Jonathan Freedland has airbrushed those years and turned them into some sort of benign ‘stone-throwing’ sit in. (He also fails to recognise that even stones can be lethal.)

      Worse, also like many others, he appears to think that a Third Intifada based on the First might not be such a bad idea as it may inject some sense of urgency into the peace process.

      I find it very disturbing that foreign commentators are so casual about promoting myths which play fast and loose with other people’s lives – don’t you? In my view the last thing the Palestinians need right now is another Intifada precisely because it would bring them more suffering, so it’s better to remember what it was really like rather than indulging in this kind of amnesic romanticism.

      • Israelinurse, anything which vilifies Israel, whether based in fact or the product of fiction or twisted reality, will suit the likes of sencar. As you see, he has lost the capability to question what he is told, much less to be disturbed by the prevalence of myths about it. Indeed it’s doubtful that he realises that most of what he is told is based in mythology.

    • As ever, sencar, you come here cruising for a bruising without proving that you are in possession of any proof, so you look likely to have to retire from the fray sporting two black eyes (figuratively speaking of course).

      Once more (sigh):

      Give us verifiable links from DISINTERESTED third party sources for what you blether above

      (Let me give you a clue, Save the Children, given its anti-Israel bias, is NOT a reliable or disinterested source).

      I hope we will hear from you, “researcher” (huh!) but somehow I doubt it.

      • On the Palestinian death figures, please see the Benny Morris book pointed to above. He’s a born again rightwing Zionist as well as being a serious historian. Also see Israelinurse above. From previous posts I believe he/she knows what she is talking about, though obviously his/her viewpoint usually differs from mine.
        The beating injuries figures are of less importance. Noone seriously doubts that very many children were harshly beaten. The Save the Children figures are probably accurate but I wouldn’t go to the stake to defend them, nor am I prepared to do the research to get alternative sources to please you.
        The Colonel Eitam account is generally accepted; just Google him.

        • “No-one doubts….” etc Just who is this no-one?? You, Save the Children (whose record is rather less exemplary than many) and who else? As I said, post links to disinterested sources.

          You are making the accusations, so you should take the trouble to back up your claims, sencar, otherwise I am tempted to believe that you either don’t know or haven’t that verifiable evidence or proof.

          If you were in my position, would you believe you without question?

          • You don’t have to look further than p506 of the Benny Morris book above to get an estimate of 15 to 20 thousand injuries to Palestinians during the first two years of the intifada. Morris quotes the 1994 edition of Professor Mark Tessler’s book, ‘A History of the Isreali-Palestinian Conflict’.

            • sencar I’ll have a look at the book you mention.
              But, when you cite a book that cites another book as credible and verifiable evidence, frankly you need to do better.
              It is as credible as ‘My Father knew a man who had a second-cousin who had a friend who knew someone who had seen the Indian rope trick’
              as evidence that the Indian rope trick exists.

              • If you know anything about historical research you will know that is nonsense. It is normal for academics to quote other sources. Benny Morris is a respected historian where facts are concerned, although his interpretations are sometimes open to question. Mark Tessler is even more highly regarded as an historian without political bias.
                Clearly you won’t listen to what you don’t want to hear.

                • sencar thank you for your attempt at a lesson in historical research.
                  I am well aware at the difference between primary and secondary sources and the uses to which they are put in historical research.
                  If, instead of attempting to justify your usual failure to give credible and verifiable sources, you had read my post you would have read that I will look at the book you cite by Benny Morris.
                  By the way you are correct that I will not ‘hear’ the book by Benny Morris as I will be reading it.
                  If you are hearing voices when you read then I suggest you need to see a Doctor rather quickly.

                  • In the time it took you to write that, Gerald, you could have accessed ‘Righteous Victims’ from the URL in my post, found p506, and confirmed what I say. There only remains the reliability and academic standing of Morris and his source, Tessler. As I have said before, Morris is a rightwing Zionist politically, but a respected historian; he did a lot of the primary research changing the consensus view on the events of 1947/8, for example.I know less about Tessler but he holds a relevant professorship, has published widely on Middle East affairs, and his ‘A History of the Isreali-Palestinian Conflict’ has run into several editions and seems to be a recognised authority.

                    • sencar I note with concern that your definition of ‘historical research’ is to pick out one or two pages from a book to confirm what you say.
                      Sadly I am not surprised at your shoddy approach to research of any kind, it only confirms your deserved status as a ‘Guardian Groupie’.
                      I will read the book, not just cherry-pick one or two pages, and examine all the references and sources cited for myself.
                      In the meantime I will read your posts in the knowledge of how shallow their contents are.

                    • “I will read the book, not just cherry-pick one or two pages, and examine all the references and sources cited for myself.”

                      Enjoy your reading, Gerald, but really your evasions get sillier and more blatant. The two books in question are histories of the whole conflict (over a hundred years). The points at issue relate to statistics concerning a tiny fraction of that period. If the authorities are to be trusted (which you haven’t denied) then it is reasonable to trust the statistics they quote. Alternatively you could give us different authorities providing different statistics, but of course you won’t do that.

  6. “The IDF killed more than 1000 Palestinians during the first intifada” of whom ? were terrorists? or involved in violence – no context renders your claim meaningless but what we expect of Arab propagandists who

    – lie

    – prevaricate

    – tell only a part of the story

    – hide what is unpleasant

    – subvert language

    – cannot produce substantiated claims like this poster – no source for his claims

    and more.

  7. Sencar,

    Palestinian suicidle mind is the one that send its kids to fight its wars.
    We saw similar things in the Congo wars.

    The used to lure the IDF Paras into chasing them in between narrow alley ways only to find out that a fridge or a washing machine is being thrown at them from above.

    This was Peace loving Hamas’ response to the Oslo accord.


    I’d like you to read this:
    “Israeli police quickly identified al-Souwi as the perpetrator. The day after the bombing, with his identify confirmed using DNA, al-Souwi’s family threw a neighborhood party celebrating his “martyrdom.””

    Do you know the real anger of the Palestinians during 1987?
    They could not get their economy together as a result of their inability to seat and agree on a peace agreement.
    Their Arab “brothers” were more interested in the Iran-Iraq war funny enough (did someone mentioned OIL???) and that pissed them off.

    Of course you wouldn’t criticise the Iranian use of child soldiers would you now?

  8. I hope you noticed that Sencar assumes a chain of cause and effect offering no proof or connection on the same basis as “It rained” and “the boy died of pneumonia” while it rained in NYC and the boy caught pneumonia in London.

  9. OK folks. Sencar may have trotted out falsehoods and exaggerations, and not given the alleged incidents he mentioned context, but there is no point denying that neither side covered themselves with glory during the years of the first intifada, and neither side’s hands are entirely clean.

    No – I am not apologising for terrorism, nor the deliberate decision by the Palestinians to put children in the front line or to celebrate martyrdom, and no I am not suggesting any sort of moral equivalence between suicide murderers and soldiers trying to defend a democratic state and its people, but I am just saying that in a comment thread which is debating the alleged “bloodlessness” of the Palestinians’ actions in the first intifada, it is to nobody’s credit to try to whitewash matters.

      • The falsehoods and exaggerations are inherent in the omissions sencar. How much more have you deliberately omitted? As Israelinurse says above the death toll you quoted or implied was down to the actions of the IDF was grossly inflated and did not take into account the thousands killed by inter-tribal conflict and Palestinian on Palestinian violence during those years. You must be a very poor researcher, sencar, not to have been aware of that and made us aware, or you were deliberately trying to mislead, in which case how much more are you going to try (and fail) to mislead us about?

        As Yohoho implies, figuratively speaking, you stand to gain nothing from doing that except the proverbial two black eyes, so why continue doing it? Are you some sort of masochist?

        • “As Israelinurse says above the death toll you quoted or implied was down to the actions of the IDF was grossly inflated”
          My reading of Israelinurse’s figures puts them in line with mine.

          “thousands killed by inter-tribal conflict”
          Don’t know what you mean Please explain if you want a response.

          “Palestinian on Palestinian ….violence”
          Benny Morris reckons 359 in the first three years of the intifada – mostly suspected spies for Israel. I’m not suggesting the Palestinians are without sin.

          The idea that my posts only draw ‘black eyes’ assumes that your shots hit home. Most of the responses are just crude abuse or based on ignorance, so I’m not bothered at all.

          • Sencar what have you to say about the Muslim on Muslim violence, over 1,000 killed, during that time? “Your reading” of Israelinurse’s figures must mean that you agree that Muslims murdered Muslims, too.

            I am delighted that you are not suggesting that the Palestinians are without sin – they are far from it – but I doubt that you would have written that had off your own bat and had those facts not been made public here notice, would you? I shall take great delight in reminding you in future of what you said here,

            • Of course I don’t deny Palestinian on Palestinian violence, but this wasn’t relevent to my original post. The initial article accused Freedland of downplaying violence towards Israelis by Palestinians during the first intifada. I countered by drawing attention to the far greater level of violence perpetrated by Israelis on Palestinians over that period.

              • sencrap thinks that the UK was the aggressor in WW2 because more Germans than Brits died.

  10. Freedland’s article illustrates once again the way the Guardian plays fast and loose with the truth, uncritically allowing their columnists – and Freedland, after all, is employed by them and therefore represents their views and approach to journalism – to simply write falsehoods as if they were facts.

    Freedland could have spent a few seconds with a search engine and disabused himself of the idea that the first intifada was not violent by reviewing the list that IsraeliNurse provided. The information is easily available. But his mind is so closed to the possibility that his – and the Guardian’s – pernicious views about Israel are wrong that he chose not to do so.